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ForeSee Results Shows Relationship Between Customer Satisfaction, Purchase Intent

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Graphic Courtesy ForeSee Results

Graphic Courtesy ForeSee Results

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Ann Arbor-based ForeSee Results Tuesday released its annual assessment of the top 100 online retailers, showing that customer satisfaction with e-retail remains at an all-time high score of 78 on the study’s 100-point scale.

In addition to providing satisfaction scores, the study quantifies purchase intent, or a consumer’s likelihood to purchase from a retailer through any channel, online or offline. Satisfaction predicts purchase intent when it is measured using ForeSee’s methodology.

Nearly one-third of the rated e-retailers score 80 or higher (which is the threshold to be considered a top performer in the Index) up significantly from 2007 when only four Web sites were considered top performers. Moreover, not a single e-retailer scores below 70. Just two years ago, 15 percent of the top 100 retailers scored 69 or lower.

“Over the last seven years, we’ve really seen an industry mature from a huge range of satisfaction scores to a relatively narrow range,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. “However, it’s important to remember that these scores are for only the Top 100 e-retailers, and a lot of smaller retailers still struggle with prioritizing the online customer experience. Understanding the relationship between customer satisfaction and purchase behavior should be a powerful motivator to measure and improve online customer satisfaction.”

The report, which can be downloaded at www.foreseeresults.com, includes individual satisfaction scores with the 100 top e-retailers for the past seven years, allowing for comparisons over time and between companies. After six years of leading the Index, Netflix dropped two points to 85 and Amazon narrowly took the lead, remaining unchanged at 86. The biggest gainers between 2010 and 2011 were Newegg, Shutterfly, Staples, Peapod, Lowes, Macys.com, and Hayneedle, up three points each.

The report quantifies the cause-and-effect relationship between customer satisfaction and the future success of a retailer. When compared to dissatisfied visitors, highly-satisfied visitors to retail websites say they are 68 percent more likely to purchase online, 46 percent more likely to purchase offline, and 61 percent more likely to purchase from that retailer next time they’re in the market for a similar product (based on likelihood scores). Highly satisfied customers are also more likely to recommend the retailer.

“Time and again our research shows that customer satisfaction drives loyalty, positive word of mouth, and future purchase intent,” added Freed. “Even as this economy slowly recovers, competition for the consumer dollar has never been tighter, so companies cannot afford to be complacent with their single most important consumer interface: the Web site.”

The measured retail industries include:

Apparel/Accessories
Books/Music/Video
Computers/Electronics
Food/Drug
Mass Merchant
Specialty/Non-Apparel
Automotive Parts/Accessories
Flowers/Gifts
Hardware/Home Improvement
Health & Beauty
Housewares/Home Furnishings
Jewelry
Office Supplies
Sporting Goods
Toys/Hobbies

The annual Top 100 E-Retail Satisfaction Index from ForeSee Results uses the patented methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which was developed at the University of Michigan and is a proven predictor of consumer spending. Today’s report is based on surveys of more than 22,000 visitors to the top 100 e-retail Web sites (by sales volume, as reported in the 2011 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide).

A table of this year’s satisfaction and purchase intent scores is below, and a full set of historical scores over time is available in the full report, which can be downloaded for free at www.ForeSeeResults.com.

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